The Coping with Identity Threat Scale: Development and Validation in a University Student Sample

Rusi Jaspal, Barbara Lopes, Liam Wignall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Identity process theory focuses on the impact of individual and social change on human identity and the coping strategies that are employed in response to it. In this article, the psychometric properties of the Coping with Identity Threat Scale (CITS), which is designed to assess coping styles in response to particular types of identity threat, are described. Four hundred and thirty-one university students completed the CITS and additional measures of identity threat and psychological distress. A factor analysis indicated that the CITS comprises 5 factors (social engagement, concealment/pretense, denial, self-change, and re-thinking/planning), which accounted for 56.56% of the variance. These factors reflect distinct coping styles, each of which manifests acceptable to good internal consistency and satisfactory concurrent validity with relevant variables. Multiple regression indicated that threats to the distinctiveness principle were associated with the denial, social engagement, and re-thinking/planning coping styles, while threats to self-esteem and self-efficacy were associated with the concealment/pretense and denial coping styles. It is suggested that coping styles are activated in accordance with type of identity threat and that coping styles can be predicted if we understand how particular events and situations are likely to impact identity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-238
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sept 2020


  • Identity process theory
  • identity threat
  • coping styles
  • coping with identity threat scale


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